Six journalists killed in Mexico in under a month
Marco Avila, a veteran police reporter in the northern border state of Sonora, was kidnapped Thursday at a car wash in his Sonora hometown of Ciudad Obregon by three masked gunmen who demanded to know if he was a journalist. When he responded in the affirmative, witnesses said, they shoved him into a truck.
The tortured body of the 39-year-old Avila was found in a black garbage bag dumped on the side of a road a day later.
His grieving family, including his mother, widow and two young children, buried him Saturday evening. "I am a mother destroyed by pain, and I do not want this crime to go unpunished, like so many others," said Josefina Garcia, Avila's mother.
"This must be investigated, with results, because, in a short time, there will be more attacks on journalists," she added, according to accounts Sunday in Mexican newspapers Diario del Yaqui and El Universal (links in Spanish).
The raging drug war in Mexico and insidious corruption among police and government authorities in states around the nation have made the profession of journalism here extremely dangerous.
Despite the outpouring of outrage expressed after Avila's killing and other similar crimes, few cases are ever thoroughly investigated or solved.
Rene Orta Sagado, who had worked as a journalist for years before joining a political campaign this year, was found stuffed in a car trunk May 13 in Cuernavaca, near Mexico City.
The mutilated bodies of two news photographers and a former photojournalist were recovered May 3 in the violent state of Veracruz. Five days earlier in the same state, the highly regarded reporter for a national investigative magazine, Regina Martinez of Proceso, was found slain in her home.
-- Tracy Wilkinson
Photo: A banner reading "Stop the murder of journalists" is displayed during a May 5 ceremony in Mexico City honoring slain Mexican reporters. Credit: Sashenka Gutierrez / European Pressphot Agency